As I mentioned yesterday, Burnt Orange Nation has posted the latest post-spring roundtable discussion questions conducted under the auspices of the BlogPoll. Perhaps I'm just out of practice, but these inquiries seemed particularly challenging. Accompanied by my responses, these are they:
Which offseason story are you most tired of, and, on the flip side, interested in?
Inevitably, anytime a storyline accepted as conventional wisdom contains phrases like "The Greatest of All Time," the follow-up piece will be entitled "Lo, How the Mighty Have Fallen." While there probably is fire underlying some of the smoke surrounding the Southern California program, the scandal-a-day tabloid-style news reports likely are products of schadenfreude and snowballing as much as of certainty.
I'm ready for the N.C.A.A. to investigate the allegations and respond as the facts dictate, but I'm tired of hearing about every single thing every single day. It's been all U.S.C. all the time, both good and bad, for at least a year now. I'm tired of hearing about it. Joel is right: much of the frustration of this offseason has been the result of a lack of legitimate stories to cover.
Separated at birth?
If Paris Hilton were just a hotel in France, though, the Trojans might well have scored second-best on the sick-and-tired-of-it-o-meter and finished behind Jimmy Clausen.
There simply is no justification for that much media attention being heaped upon any press conference at which a 17-year-old high school junior announces where he has decided to attend college. That would be true even if the boy's pedigree did not already demonstrate a predisposition towards unrealized potential and unmitigated disaster at the very enterprise that made the Clausen lad's non-binding verbal commitment newsworthy in the first place.
Maybe Jimmy Clausen will turn out to be the next Joe Montana. Maybe he will turn out to be the next Ron Powlus. Either way, I'm sure it'll be covered on the news when it happens, but, for now, whatever it is hasn't happened yet. Right now, he's just a kid who picked a college. That's a huge decision in his life. It's a minor story in everyone else's.
What interests me most is what isn't getting adequate media coverage. New bowl games are being added, including a fifth B.C.S. game that is not a traditional January matchup, and other changes are afoot in such important areas as instant replay. These modifications alter the way championships are decided and could affect the outcomes of games. Shouldn't those be the topics that occupy the spotlight?
Your head coach comes down with a mystery illness and has to step aside. You get to hand pick the replacement for the 2006 season. Who gets your vote?
A year ago, the answer might have been Pete Carroll, but I remember the Jim Donnan years far too well to be willing to put another lax disciplinarian in charge of my alma mater's football program. Naturally, that disqualifies Frank Beamer, Bobby Bowden, and Jim Tressel, as well.
Coach Tressel is coming to Athens! Red sweater-vests and black Escalades for everybody!
Although I tend to think both will pan out pretty well over the long haul, it's still too early to tell whether Charlie Weis and Urban Meyer can hit big-league pitching consistently and, since neither of them has won more than nine games in a single season at the major college level (no, Utah doesn't count), I still have misgivings about entrusting either of them with the responsibility of continuing the Red and Black's streak of four consecutive 10-win seasons.
Brian VanGorder needs to find his sea legs as a head coach before I'd be prepared to promote him to Georgia from Georgia Southern . . . although it isn't as though being a former Bulldog defensive coordinator who became a head coach in Statesboro doesn't constitute a fine resume for a prospective top 'Dawg.
For the same reason, my strong inclination to bring Will Muschamp back to his alma mater is insufficient to overcome my misgivings about his preparedness in 2006, despite the certainty that Coach Muschamp will be a good head football coach sometime in the near future.
It's not entirely clear whether Darth Visor has lost his fastball or whether the Chicken Curse is dragging down yet another South Carolina head coach who won a national championship someplace else, but, even if I thought the Ol' Ball Coach was the same Evil Genius he was during his days in Gainesville, I could not countenance the cognitive dissonance that would be required to put Steve Spurrier in red and black. That goes double for Tommy Tuberville.
Not in my house.
Bobby Petrino is a tad too mercenary for me, which also causes me to balk at the admittedly tempting prospect of bringing Nick Saban back to the college ranks from the N.F.L. Mike Bellotti is disqualified because we all know what becomes of former Oregon coaches who try to cut it in the S.E.C. East. It would be interesting to see what Jeff Tedford would do with Matt Stafford, but I'm just old-fashioned enough to want to see my team play some defense, too.
Mack Brown has proven his ability to win consistently, but his history with major rivals in divisional showdowns at neutral sites makes me question his ability to right the ship against the Gators in Jacksonville.
By process of elimination, I'd have to say I'd take Kirk Ferentz from Iowa. I'm not entirely comfortable with that answer, either, but I can't come up with an immediate reason to strike him from the list the way I can with all the others, so Coach Ferentz would have to be the one.
Lastly, we'll mix the football and the blogging together here. If you could have anyone switch allegiances and start covering your team, who you gonna pick?
This is an excellent question and I almost feel guilty answering it, in light of the embarrassment of riches boasted by the Bulldogs in the intercollegiate athletics blogosphere already, from the Georgia Sports Blog to The Corporate Headquarters of the San Antonio Gunslingers, from I'm a Realist to Hey Jenny Slater, among numerous others.
We already have Doug. It wouldn't be right to ask for more than that.
I agree with B.O.N. that it would be unfair to have Every Day Should Be Saturday limit itself to covering a single team, so Orson Swindle would not be called upon to expunge all the orange from his wardrobe, despite the incessant hilarity he provides on a daily basis over at E.D.S.B.S.
Strong cases could be made for The Blue-Gray Sky and Bruins Nation, each of which combines passionate attachment to a particular team with insightful analysis. However, the former's insistence upon independence from a conference affiliation in football and the latter's mania for college hoops would make both ill-suited to the enterprise of covering the 'Dawgs, however gifted each may be at writing about the teams that matter to them as much as the Red and Black mean to me.
No one does a better overall job at college football weblogging than MGoBlog's Brian, who provides the finest quantitative breakdowns and qualitative insights in the blogosphere, pulls together the disparate threads of thought and discussion going on throughout the sport, and strikes the delicate balance between reasoned advocacy and heartfelt fandom.
Seriously, we get to pick anybody we want to be a weblogger for our team? Can I pick Kristin Davis? I didn't think so.
If I had to induce a fellow blogger to switch sides, I'd come this close to turning MGoBlog into GDawgBlog, but I wouldn't do the Wolverine weblogging contingent the disservice of stealing his services from the Maize and Blue, nor would I put Brian through the culture shock of having to stop covering hockey (a subject that makes my eyes glaze over) and start covering baseball.
In the end, though, the top spot would have to go to the weblog that hosted this exchange, Burnt Orange Nation.
While the authors of B.O.N. sometimes display a sense of humor somewhat edgier than my own, they conduct themselves with class, cover their school comprehensively, touch upon multiple sports and a myriad of issues throughout intercollegiate athletics, cultivate a loyal following, relish a good fight, and treat their fellow webloggers with as much courtesy and generosity as they can while refusing to allow specious nonsense to stand unchallenged. They're good guys to have on your side and I would be proud to have them exchange their burnt orange for red and black.
Those are the Dawg Sports answers to the BlogPoll roundtable questions. Am I right? Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments below.